After Band of Horses
After my sister’s morning call broke
our father’s death, the first thing
I did was listen to Everything All the Time,
sobbing into unrequited guitar
and an ethereal voice soaring
into some great beyond. Seven years later,
I drink Bordeaux with my roommate
in the kitchen, cyclical tones
filling the room. The guitar is a coffin
for us both, lowering Dad’s corpse
into dirt. Her grandpa died
when this song released.
We rake our past leaves under burnt-out bulbs.
We agree: The Funeral was written for both of us
to pass the billion-each-insignificant day.
Dead leaves own the lawn each season
of our funerals. The same deaths
in autumn chill still dropping the needle
into memory’s vinyl– to come up only
to pull us under, show us wrong.
(originally published in Chronogram, Spring 2017)
When in view I know I launch like a rocket toward you
but you are my favorite scent in the universe
I watch stars when sprinting through open fields
my neck beaming orange from my electric collar
you have given me many such gifts
but nothing can replicate your hand on my fur
you know I don’t need to shake my butt when I walk
I’m only playing but it is funny when you mimic my moves
& we have so many years & so few
and every day is so new I can’t bear to learn
the name of another dog or tree because everything is beautiful
& holy & profound in the way you let me roam free the times
I only need to go outside to pee & look, everything’s so gorgeous
I can’t bear to sit still & yet will return to you when you call my name
(originally published in Perspectives Magazine, Spring 2017)
I mess with the piano
Jim says something
about same notes different octaves
I watch the motion
of his talking
monotone forward sound
to a blue jay
is a one-note piano
(originally published in Rat’s Ass Review, Spring 2017)
(originally published in #thesideshow, Spring 2017)
the mylar unicorn balloon juts out of my moodlighting lamp
& won’t lose air sealed lips but the horn’s starting to sag
it’s not sad it’s entropy how slowly things around you deteriorate
I look at my unmade bed & puppy fur on the floor & the wind
beats at the window it’s the first day of spring & my voice is hoarse
with allergens so texting you downstairs & we’re scared something
bad may come of us that our own house will fill with mercury whether
in tapwater or shower water or the plug to come undone that causes
the washing machine to overflow and it will
(originally published in Maudlin House, Spring 2017)
I echo through night to ensure sound still works.
I tape my mouth silent.
I close my eyes to reveal scary movies in my eyelids.
I hear creaking in the house.
I shake my bed to justify it.
This thick blue shawl feels warm over my body.
It gets hotter as the night progresses.
Salty, sticky saliva my herbal tea of necessity.
I can peek my head out from behind the covers,
but that’s a liability because if a tree comes crashing
through the roof then extra padding might save me.
Consider it the imaginary basement
of my invincible Alamo.
The bathroom is far away.
I cannot run the death race
I am too young to drive
One thought on my mind:
the Daytona 500 races through my mind
each lap more repetitive than the last
until eventually I close my eyes
and birds chirp melodiously with the
sound of a church’s morning bell
Here lies a crystalline lake
more blue than diamonds
reflecting serene sky
A cloud appears from nowhere
mostly white, tints of yellow.
It’s an azure-eyed mellow, old
King Zeus smiling atop his throne,
gold-plated lightning bolt in hand.
Oak trees on the side
for elk grazing along a plain.
Golden field bursting
with honeydew and wildflowers
redolent of Autumn pine.
A white vessel of pity falls
like a piano from the forlorn sky,
patiently waiting for someone gentle
to come play Beethoven
along its dual-layered fringe.
These keys are worn.
So many beautiful sonatas played.
Perhaps a song can be played
in a key of your own?
A dear friend, young in flesh,
whispers in my ear:
“Go play. Go play.
This is your piano.
People want to listen.
People want peace,
peers want to be pleased.
Pray that they won’t be pissed.
Play this piano purposefully.”
Peace, relief, silence.
Without being conscious of the monsters,
the monsters are not there.
(originally published in Central American Literary Review, Spring 2017)